The “war” that we face with the coronavirus is real and it is here. It is not going away anytime soon. That is our reality. As I wrote in my book (The Supercivilization: Survival in the Era of Human Versus Human) in 2015, we are a Supercivilization and it is no more apparent than today. If we deny our reality, we will succumb to the various threats, including the coronavirus, which will work with other threats to perpetrate synergistic catastrophe. We must adopt the notion that a Supercivilization exists today, so we can stay strong and effectively limit those major threats.
We face several threats and the most obvious is coronavirus in the year 2020. However it is not the only threat. There are others: climate change, demagoguery, resource declines, inequality, and thermonuclear war. All of these factors catalyze the pandemic of the coronavirus and, alternatively, their foreboding threat can also be used to motivate us
There is good and bad news about the coronavirus. First, the most horrible news is that as of this writing it appears hundreds of thousands could die from this pandemic in the United States and millions globally. As it stands now, according to worldometer.com we have 925,000 confirmed cases and 46,388 deaths globally. In the United States those numbers stand at 66,734 and 4,097, respectively. More people will die, undoubtedly, and the CDC expects anywhere between 100,000 and 240,000 deaths in the United States alone. We have suddenly run out of resources to fight this as doctors and nurses in hotspots such as New York City are working without proper protective equipment, and ventilator shortages are becoming ominous. The good news is this pandemic shows the potential we all have to come together and fight a common “enemy:” the coronavirus. Voluntary cooperation to fight this virus is at an all time high for The Supercivilization. We all see the threat, understand the threat, and work to quell it in impressive ways. In places such as South Korea, China, California, and the State of Washington, quick, cooperative action that could not be imagined just months ago by all individuals in those areas has managed to quickly limit this virus. In some places, like Washington, new cases have slowed dramatically. As of this writing, there have only been smatterings of new cases in Washington in the past week. This exemplifies the potential we have to bringing these threats to an end. Perhaps even most impressive was the ability to work quickly to keep its case numbers and death tolls to a minimum in areas that were prepared and made fighting the virus a priority.
While I am strongly opposed to demagoguery as manifest by Donald Trump, I do not blame him nor should accuse him of starting the coronavirus chapter in human history. This pandemic has occurred due to circumstances beyond his control. Yet, his anti-science views and stubborn attitude toward the truth have propelled this virus into a pandemic that could be exponentially worse than we first thought. His delays in the first two months of the pandemic can and should be criticized. His idea of “smaller government” forced a patchwork of states to fend for themselves when in fact the resources of the federal government are massively more capable of dealing with this problem. He was openly criticizing the scientific community about the warning signs and belittled people that told him the truth. His further desire to limit federal involvement will be shown, once this is over, to have been a major blunder in our efforts to control the virus.
President Trump is an inescapable symptom of a more massive problem: our idea that we can solve 21st century problems as isolated entities working competitively rather than cooperatively for our very own interests. His latest example foreshadowing this danger has been his ongoing refusal to approach this as a problem of The Supercivilization. As I define it, our Supercivilization is exponentially more interconnected, has never had so much transparent disparity in wealth, and has a declining resource base. Sadly, the coronavirus has exposed this reality and we must change our attitudes now before further events lead to further catastrophe and larger die-offs. Trump remains oblivious to the human condition and hence his reality is our reality. He has shown no empathy and still cannot acknowledge his profound narcissism that is toxic for all of us in The Supercivilization.
The most dangerous aspect of coronavirus, besides its lethality, will be to convince strongmen, such as Viktor Orban, Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, Boris Johnson, and Xi Jinping, that tactics to limit the free will, thoughts, and movements of its people are not necessary for our survival. These strongmen will try to convince us of this and some of us will even drink the Kool-Aid. They will try to control the propaganda, but no one can or should try to spin the deaths that will occur from this pandemic.
We all need to realize that two major components are needed to fight the coronavirus: cooperation and scientific development. That is where Donald Trump and others fail miserably. They do not adhere to the scientific principle, scientific method, and the truth. They will try to maintain power using any method that buttresses their power. The best science is conducted in environments where the free flow of information and ideas serve as a carrot of inspiration, as opposed to iron fists as a stick, to solve the major problems. Social distancing is a delay tactic; it is not a solution in and of itself. Good, objective, methodical science will be our only solution. The spread of factual, accurate information will save us; misinformation will doom us.
I have argued incessantly, in my book, that science is breaking down due to the vested interests that promote solutions to world problems that primarily benefit the producers rather than the consumers of those solutions. If we let Donald Trump off the hook by letting him use his public relations strategies/machines such as Fox News to argue, “I prevented one million–or worse, 10 million–deaths by intervening quickly and early” instead of an honest, accurate portrayal of our reality, we will only see further catastrophe. Speaking of catastrophes and anti-science posturing, do you still deny climate change, Mr. Trump?